Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 619–629 | Cite as

Quantitative Measurements of Fracture Aperture and Directional Roughness from Rock Cores

  • Bryan S. A. Tatone
  • Giovanni Grasselli
Technical Note


The hydro-mechanical behavior of a blocky rock mass near the surface and at shallow depths is more dependent on the characteristics of the system of discontinuities within the rock mass than the characteristics of the intact rock. Discontinuities represent planes of weakness and conduits of enhanced hydraulic conductivity relative to the intact rock. The spatial aperture distribution and roughness of these fractures can have a significant influence on their hydro-mechanical behavior. In terms of mechanical behavior, the aperture distribution and roughness directly affect the spatial distribution and inclination of contact areas, which in turn influence the stress distribution, deformation, and asperity damage, under normal and shear loading (e.g., Re and Scavia 1999; Gentier et al. 2000; Grasselli and Egger 2003). In terms of hydraulic behavior, the spatial aperture distribution and roughness directly affect the tortuosity and connectivity of flow paths, which in turn...


Fracture roughness Fracture aperture 3D scanning Rock mass characterization Core logging 



This work has been supported by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada in the form of Discovery Grant No. 341275 and RTI Grant No. 345516 held by G. Grasselli and by an OGSST Graduate Scholarship held by B.S.A. Tatone.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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